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April 4, 2014

posted Apr 11, 2014, 8:00 AM by jmarcotte@sau4.org
Great things happen every day at school. As I was trying to come up with something to write about this week, I went back in my archives of Writing Corners. I can’t believe it has been six years since this story happened. But I remember it like yesterday! Now this girl is sitting in our 5th grade class at DES, almost ready to take on a new adventure—NMMS! 

There are some things that standardized testing can’t measure or score—here is one of them. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I do retelling it. Last fall, a new student in the kindergarten class took one look at our playground slide and decided it was way too high and scary for her. Throughout the fall and winter, she watched older students and some of her classmates walk up those intimidating stairs and - with smiles on their faces - zoom down the slide! But, she couldn’t muster the courage 
to join them. 

When spring arrived, she gained confidence by walking up the first few steps of the slide. After a few weeks, she had climbed to the top of the steps. All that was left was for her to take the ride down the slide! Finally the day arrived; she was going to do it.

At lunch recess, she asked our guidance counselor to stand near the slide and watch her. She slowly ascended the stairs, cheered on by her counselor and many of her friends. When she reached the top, she carefully sat down and, without hesitation, down she went with a huge smile on her face - her first ride down the slide!

After a few hugs in celebration of her accomplishment, she asked her teacher if she’d gather a few more friends to watch her do it again. For the next fifteen minutes, this triumphant young lady slid down the slide, smiling all the time. 
Seeing this sort of accomplishment is what makes my job as principal so enjoyable!

School is not only a place of learning from books and curriculum guides, but from experiences. We provide opportunities for students to learn about themselves and gain confidence by trying new things. I continue to wonder if fifteen years 
from now, this blossoming 5th  grader will be rock climbing and bungee jumping, confident that she could also pursue a graduate degree in aerospace engineering! I think she can -- and will -- accomplish whatever goal she sets for herself.


This week while on a daily walk-through, I had another special moment, this time in second grade. I noticed a young man “multi-tasking”, trying to pay attention to his teacher, but also sneaking peeks at the chapter book he had hidden in his desk. This put a smile on my face as -- for this boy -- reading doesn’t come easily, yet he was so engaged in his new chapter book.


He was, however, reading more than listening to his teacher’s grammar lesson. After letting him read for another few pages, we made eye contact and I pointed to the teacher. With a smile, he closed his book and returned it to his desk. I had to smile as well. Perhaps someday this student will be the teacher in a classroom of his own. I’m confident, if that is what he sets his mind to do, it will happen. 

 Have a great weekend!